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Glass Hammer

Symphonic Prog

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Glass Hammer Lex Rex album cover
3.75 | 212 ratings | 23 reviews | 27% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Good Evening (0:51)
2. Tales of the Great Wars (10:42)
3. One King (6:07)
4. Further Up and Further In (15:13)
5. Intermission (1:08)
6. Music for Four Hands (2:19)
7. A Cup of Trembling (7:50)
8. Centurion (7:47)
9. When We Were Young (9:53)
10. Goodnight (1:11)
11. Heroes and Dragons (3:45)

Total Time 66:46

Line-up / Musicians

- Walter Moore / lead & backing vocals
- Susie Bogdanowicz / lead & backing vocals
- Fred Schendel / Hammond & pipe organs, piano, Mellotron, synthesizers, acoustic, electric & steel guitars, mandolin, recorder, drums, percussion, lead & backing vocals
- Steve Babb / 4- & 8-string basses, Mellotron, pipe & Hammond organs, Yamaha CS5 & Korg Micro synths, lead & backing vocals

- Bjorn Lynne / lead guitar (2)
- Charlie Shelton / lead guitar (3)
- David Carter / lead guitar (4)
- Sarah Lovell / lead & backing vocals
- Haley McGuire / lead & backing vocals
- Carrie Streets / backing vocals
- Robert Streets / backing vocals
- Walter Moore / backing vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Rosana Azar

CD Sound Resources ‎- SR1123 (2002, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy GLASS HAMMER Lex Rex Music

GLASS HAMMER Lex Rex ratings distribution

(212 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(27%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

GLASS HAMMER Lex Rex reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Greger
4 stars "Lex Rex" was the follow-up to GLASS HAMMER's masterpiece "Chronometree". The music follows the same direction with splendid keyboard dominated (Hammond, Mellotron, Moog etc.) progressive rock. The whole band however is blending and I don't have to mention any particular member, as they are all very good. Once again they have produced a concept album, this time it's a tale of a Roman soldier who's beset by ancient gods and goddesses. This album contains part one of the tale, which you can learn more about by buying this magnificent CD. This album is almost as good as "Chronometree". Musically it's equally good, but the compositions were slightly better on "Chronometree". GLASS HAMMER is the wet dream for all fans of progressive rock as they combine all the elements that make the genre so good. Great lengthy compositions, technically challenging music & musicians and on top of it all these beautiful cover artworks. The "Lex Rex" cover artwork by Rosana Azar is no exception. A must have, just like all the other GLASS HAMMER releases.
Review by Sean Trane
2 stars Before I give advice , I generally try to listen to it at least once and if I like it then a lot more . But as an exception , I heard roughly 10-15 min scattered through the CD and this was more than enough for me to have a good idea that this was not for me but also for a lot of my friends and selective prog fans.

Not meaning to be disrespectful to the group as there is plenty of acceptable prog tracks as well as an immense workload input no doubt, but this is yet another typical start of the century prog production, like they are made by the hundreds these days

Review by lor68
4 stars Talking about their music, regarding of their previous albums, their compositions usually are stunning but also discontinuous in some circumstances; instead this new release is memorable and almost perfect from the beginning to the end, despite of its simplicity!! Long live GLASS HAMMER!! Their following album "Shadowlands" is probably more complex, but sometimes repetitive from the point of view of the harmonic solutions and talking about the sense of melody as well. Probably the right score should be a bit inferior regarding of some common places within the symphonic progressive genre, but the sense of melody is superior here, in comparison to "Shadowlands".

Make your own choice!!

Review by Menswear
5 stars What the heck is that? Why nobody told me about that band? Thanks a lot guys! Why this site don't recommend any of those albums? Nobody tells me anything here! Man, I'm always the last one to know stuff around here. Anyway, boy I should discovered them long ago. I would've invest my money in better places than Spock's Beard The Light or Flower Kings' Retropolis. Both are great albums but, come on, you gotta admit that Glass Hammer is A TRAGICALLY UNDERRATED BAND. What a fanstastic album. Lush mellotron, good guitar solos, snoring basses and Emerson-Wakeman keyboard. And a big round of applause for vocals, both masculine and feminine, that don't overdo it.

Story: centurion who seeks glory. Don't find it, 'cause gods are not down with it. Finds Jesus Christ. He's finally down with that. Thank you. Christian message is strong, but hey, a story about Rome is excused to include The Son of Jehovah. No surprise there.

Super melodic passages that, without the shadow of a doubt, will remind you many bands such as ELP, Yes and thank you lord....the almighty Echolyn. Think of Echolyn with more keyboards and slower pace with female vocals.

If you're a fan of keyboard driven music with concept and great Neil Young would say: this bud's for you!


Review by chessman
3 stars I got this cd, alongwith "Chronometree", off my wife for Xmas. This one is somewhat different, but still obviously Glass Hammer. See my review of "Chronometree" for my opinions on that. This one is far stronger in the vocal department, but the songs are not really any better, in my opinion. Mind you, they are in no ways worse either! The story, whilst being of little interest to an atheist, like myself, will appeal to readers of the Bible, telling, as it does the story of the Roman soldier whose spear pierced the side of Christ on the cross. I will not go into the individual songs here, as they are all of a similar standard, and run into each other nicely. Nevertheless, track two, "Tales Of The Great Wars" stands out to my ears, as does the fourth, "Further Up And Further In". Some excellent keyboards and guitar on these tracks. I also like the "Introduction" "Intermission" and "Goodnight" pieces, which make the band sound like after dinner speakers! "Music For Four Hands" is a lovely piano piece, which shows off Schendel's (or is it Babb's?) ability on the keyboard. The only drawback to me on this cd is the guitar work in general. Some of it is distictive, but some of it doesn't stand out as much as it should, certainly not like it does on "Chronometree" or "Shadowlands". No real weaknesses here though, and I can recommend this to anyone who likes the above mentioned albums. On other days I would give this four stars but today it has to settle for three. The more I hear this band the more I like them.
Review by Trotsky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I'm certainly not the first person to complain that Glass Hammer waste some absolutely superb classic sounding synth passages thanks to unnecessarily twee, pop-sounding vocals. I felt this problem on Shadowlands, which was the first album of theirs I encountered, and it is definitely worse on the preceeding album Chronometree. Sadly it's also present on Lex Rex (I'm none too impressed with the intro/intermission theatrics either!) but thankfully, the band's compositions are at among their strongest.

Musically, Lex Rex is probably the pinnacle of Glass Hammer's impressive reportoire as the ELP/Yes/Genesis influenced band moves from one exciting song to another ... The first song Tales Of Great Wars is liberally sprinkled with blistering synth work from Fred Schendel (or possibly Steve Babb), but during the first half of the song, the vocal melody threatens to ruin it, and it comes as something of a pleasant surprise therefore when some pleasing vocal harmonies ensue!

One King is practically a Yes tribute with piano, organ and synthesizer taking turns to dazzle, interspersed by an Anderson-like vocal line (which amazingly is just about the least irritating one here!) I could do without the Rabinesque guitar though. Unfortunately the 15 minute Further Up And Further In boasts majestic instrumental work that is almost destroyed by poor poppish vocal segments, that surely aren't in tune with the mood of a concept album about Ancient Rome.

The same applies to both A Cup Of Trembling and When We Young, which are totally power-packed until the lame vocal segments makes their presence felt, while Centurion actually manages the skill of being a good, progressive but un-Glass Hammer like tune, for most of it's duration.

Lex Rex is just about the best Glass Hammer of them all, but is still distinctly flawed in a way that other contemporary keyboard heavy albums really aren't. I would actually go for the works of the Scandinavian trio of Anglagard, Wobbler and Magic Pie, the US' Echolyn or Israel's Trespass before coming to this band. ... 55% on the MPV scale

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Certanly can't complain about the musicianship on this concept album. The keyboard and synth work is amazing, and there is also mellotron sampling on several tracks.

The SOMNAMBULIST lead guitarist guests on "One King" which is my favourite song on this record, great harmonies as well.This is a fantastic tune.The longest song "Further Up And Further In" has everything you can imagine played on it, the whole ball of wax.The guitar work really shines on "A Cup Of Trembling". The final tune "Heroes And Dragons" is a mellow affair with strummed guitar, synths and vocals.

I guess i'm in the middle on this one, it's good but it's just not that great in my opinion.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars I really don't understand why so many progheads consider this band as the best US based one in the symphonic prog category.

To me, it has always been a YesClone in the vein of "Starcastle". No more. I admit that they also cloned ELP very much in "Chronometree". Of innovative music, there are not much to say, I'm afraid.

Even if a song as "Tales Of The Great Wars" is not bad per se, it holds all the elements (vocals, guitar, synth, off-beats) of a classic YesSong but performed by some sort of tribute band. Don't get me wrong: the song is very pleasant, musicians play very well but it is only a copy of what has been done some thirty years before this album. So, what's the fuss?

The whole of this album (over sixty five minutes!) is just a travel through the YesSounds I praise so much while played by the original and great band we all love.

Keyboards lovers will be very pleased throughout all these songs. They are declined in lots of forms: synth, mellotron, piano, moog and organ which brings a lot of variety in sounds. But these Anderson vocals oriented are just too much. He is of course not the only one to have been imitated (isn't it Peter?).

Now, to be honest, "Lex Rex" is their best effort so far. At least I consider it as such. But the epic "Further Up And Further In" features rather weak and unexpressive vocals and the instrumental parts are not really thrilling either. The sections I prefer are the short and Howesque guitar breaks.

While releasing "Lex Rex", the band could have made this very long story shorter. It would have been beneficial for the interest of this work which falls somewhat flat throughout its length.

Three stars.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars After a brief change in character in order to capitalize on the Lord Of The Rings craze, Glass Hammer is back to doing what it does best: blending the styles of the seventies prog masters. Here, they take the lush vocal and instrumental arrangements of Yes, and combine it with the theatrical style and relatively simple keyboard parts of Genesis, and come up with a decent album.

The concept is that we are at a performance of an old minstrel show, witnessing a tale of gods and soldiers. The vocals are often too emotive, and the Christian message, while not too heavy, does put me off a bit.

Musically, the blend of styles I mentioned above does have some spectacular moments, usually when Fred Schendel is on guitar (he channels Steve Howe on slide guitar amazingly). At other times, the Yes stylings with less-than-Wakeman-like keyboards brings up images of Starcastle.

There are ups and downs, but generally this is a worthy album.

Review by kev rowland
5 stars For those with long memories I have reviewed Glass Hammer before but it was way back in #36 (August '96) when I gave them a strong review for their second album 'Perelandra'. Now it is 2000 and this is their seventh album so what do I think now? It starts with an announcer telling invited guests about the concert that is going to take place. Later there is an intermission as well as a thanks at the end where the gentlemen are invited to retire to have some brandy while the ladies have some refreshments. Each time I heard it I couldn't help thinking of Jethro Tull's 'A Minstrel In The Gallery' where a similar device has rather more effect.

But in no way is that going to detract from what is a quite superb album. It is multi-faceted and multi-layered and given that it is basically all the work of just two people (Steve Babb and Fred Schendel) the accomplishment is even more remarkable. When I played this the first time I put it on immediately after playing The Flower Kings, and I was struck by just how different the two albums were. This also brings in many strands and musical styles but they all become part of the overall theme instead of trying to take over the piece. Both guys are strong singers, as well as good musicians and this is an album that I have really enjoyed playing. It is prog that while often based on keyboards also has a strong guitar element and manages to be all things to all progheads as those who want shorter songs can have them while those who want long instrumental passages are also catered for.

It may have been six years since I last reviewed a Glass Hammer album but yet again I find myself recommending that all proggers get hold of this as soon as possible. Visit the band web site at

Originally appeared in Feedback #70, Oct 02

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Always inspired by Tolkien's writings, Glass Hammer decided to fully dedicate an album to the legendary writer, recording and releasing ''The middle Earth album'' in 2001, somewhat moving away from their progressive sensibilties for a more rural approach, a work that received mixed reviews.But they would soon recover, launching ''Lex Rex'' in 2002, a comeback to Prog Rock, now featuring some extra guitar work by Bjørn Lynne with a four-piece backing vocal group.

''Lex Rex'' finds Glass Hammer reaching their creative pinnacle, all these huge 70's influences and aesthetics have been nicely balanced, Schendel and Babb had musically matured and the result was a top 2002 album of full-blown Symphonic Rock with evident YES and E.L.P. influences.The vocal parts and production sound of course very American, they actually sound a bit close to MAGELLAN at moments, but the arrangements, jazzy guitar snippets and huge Classical influences in the piano parts are well within the STEVE HOWE/RICK WAKEMAN range.Now, the whole thing about Symphonic-oriented Prog is to find room and place elements like pomposity, complexity, grandieur and melody in equal doses and additionally mix all those properly to sound like technically efficient yet elaborate mini symphonies.That's what exactly Glass Hammer achieved with ''Lex Rex'', there's no particular element prevailing in the album and for the first time you feel there are no blank holes or fillers, even during the longest piece, while the shorter tunes have also a reason of existence.The band switches with unmet comfort between instrumental long plays with keyboard tricks and interactions to smoother performances with a lyrical depth and a strong sense of melody.Beautiful combination of layered synthesizers with big time Mellotron preludes and thrilling organs, some nice acoustic textures to be found next to the regular electric moves and well-arranged vocal harmonies, material with emotion and virtuosity, great piece of art.

''Lex Rex'' is also an attempt by the band to leave the dominant YES influences behind, they haven't fully achieved to do so, but at least this is their most original album to date, their style starts to become a little distinctive.Great reincarnation of Classic Prog values, no less than highly recommended.

Review by A Crimson Mellotron
3 stars I tend to gravitate towards albums with better album art, it is usually a sign that the music is going to be as excellent as the painting or the image that one sees on the front, and this is quite easy to justify, as the first impression is a very strong force in the realm of the human nature. So, I thought, judging the book by its cover, that I am in for a tremendous ride of musical grandeur? the cover in question is, of course, the surrealistic and soft-colored painting that is the album art for 'Lex Rex', the sixth studio album by American progressive and symphonic rock band Glass Hammer; one of the consistent contemporary 'retro prog' acts (definitely this definition applies perfectly to GH, whether you consider the positive or the negative connotations that come along with it). 'Lex Rex' is not a severe disappointment but a gentle let-down, as the music does not match exactly the lovely front image.

Explosive musical passages and eargasmic mellotron-infested instrumental sections dominate the album. This record is made as a sort of a play or a spectacle for the ears, with its properly placed introduction ('Good Evening), intermission and finale ('Goodnight'). And the music is indeed quite cinematic, often adventurous, yet sometimes tedious and repetitive. The strong 70s symphonic progressive rock influence hits the listener from the very beginning of Glass Hammer's 65-minute show; And here comes the first problem: this album could be considered as a decent example of why people look down upon this genre of music and why some others have coined the term 'regressive rock', despite the acrobatic and playful, often adventurous playing of the musicians.

Longer songs, of course, dominate the tracklist, with just one instrumental (and given the fact how mind-blowing most of the instrumental sections are, it is a pity that they did not focus on this kind of compositions more). And this is where I can present the second problem with this record - the particularly unimpressive vocals. Is it the fact that there are seven people that have vocal duties on 'Lex Rex' or the fact that none of them has a really strong, memorable and exceptional voice? I do not know, but the vocals on this album do not work in my book.

With this being said, I must praise the big hero of the album - Steve Babb, the man who is responsible for the bass and keyboards, the two best characters of 'Lex Rex'. Menacing and throbbing bass, intertwined with brain-melting Mellotron ignitions and Hammond organ fiestas, these could be the reasons for which I would return to this record. And I can't help but think that if this band focused on creating more, if not entirely, instrumental albums, they could have reached an Anglagard-kind of level of status in the prog landscape.

All in all, 'Lex Rex' is a good album that suffers from the boring vocals and the moments of directionless playing (or overplaying) of what seems to be excessive notes. Steve Babb, on the other hand, saves the day, making this an enjoyable ear candy for the bass and keyboards-seeking listener. The tracks under the spotlight are surely 'Tales of the Great Wars', 'Further Up and Further In', 'Music for Your Hands' and 'Centurion'.

Latest members reviews

5 stars Glass Hammer is one of the best modern prog bands. I first listened to this album back in 2018 and I have loved it ever since. I consider this album to be one of the best albums released in the last 20 years! The keyboards are fantastic on every track. Every musician on this album plays great and pl ... (read more)

Report this review (#2535286) | Posted by BlazingProg | Wednesday, April 14, 2021 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Essential. I am surprised that this album is not rated into the top 100 prog albums. This is one of my personal favourite albums of all time, but I guess this is just one of those albums that I just instantly loved. The musicianship of the group at this point was incredible, and the blend of ... (read more)

Report this review (#906516) | Posted by The Mystical | Tuesday, February 5, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The realm of keyboards! As a lover of classic prog, I can only love this wonderful album! Superb melodies, incredible keyboards, excellent sounds of guitar and bass, all very beautiful and flawlessly played . I honestly do not understand some low ratings given to this album: I read several nega ... (read more)

Report this review (#446184) | Posted by prog61 | Thursday, May 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First Listening, once again the American Symphonic Prog outfit suprise me with yet another supreme example of the Genre they grace majestically. If you listen carefully you will get the essence of Yes, Genesis, ELP, but it's a mix and it works for me. After the intro which is supposed to be a vi ... (read more)

Report this review (#175812) | Posted by M27Barney | Monday, June 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Glass Hammer was recently recommended to me, so I bought two of their albums: The Inconsolable Secret and Lex Rex. It took me a while to get used to listening to this type of music as I tend to favor bands that are more guitar-oriented. Glass Hammer has a very electronic sound as they lay it ... (read more)

Report this review (#77750) | Posted by Lofcaudio | Wednesday, May 10, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I love Glass Hammer, and this record has some great moments. Although my religion is non- Christian, I don't judge this record based on it's very Christian overtones. Because the music is awesome, and the lyrics at least "sound" good in the songs. My favorite song is "Further Up and Farther ... (read more)

Report this review (#41011) | Posted by | Saturday, July 30, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars If you're looking for a newer prog album that will transport you straight back to the classic 70s, look no further. This album sounds straight up like a sequel to Yes' 1977 release, Going for the One, specifically the GftO tracks Parallels and Awaken. These are most longer songs, with three ... (read more)

Report this review (#36346) | Posted by | Sunday, June 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A well crafted concept album about a Roman soldier who seeks glory and discovers christianity. Lots of wonderful melodies and Yes-like multiple harmonies. Keyboard-driven, with various tremendous parts of Hammond, Moog and Mellotron. Great bass and guitar are giving fine reply. The vocal stanc ... (read more)

Report this review (#16914) | Posted by PROGCOM | Thursday, February 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I expected to enjoy this album, after reading all the positive reviews, but after 4 listens I still can't find much to like about it. While some of the compositional complexity is interesting, the melodies are not memorable. The music seems somewhat derivative of early Yes and Genesis (which I'm ... (read more)

Report this review (#16913) | Posted by Wilson | Monday, January 17, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Let's keep this short and sweet: Lex Rex is a superbly crafted masterpiece. The musicianship is second to none, definitely on par with the likes of Yes and early Genesis. The songwriting is top notch, telling a very compelling story that's interesting from start to finish. And the quality of the ... (read more)

Report this review (#16912) | Posted by | Monday, December 27, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars With its 66+ min.running time..this is by far GLASS HAMMERS best effort yet!! AND that says a lot !! Everyone who knows them ( and if you dont...shame on you!!)these are the guys who have bredeed new blood into this our world of wonderful prog music!! Anything you could care to mention in a progd ... (read more)

Report this review (#16901) | Posted by Tonny Larz | Friday, November 28, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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